Sinema and Kelly need to govern like nothing is more important than voting rights because Republicans won’t

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In a democracy, disagreements about policy are often challenging — but also normal. The resulting tension can be empowering and is actually what helps to make our nation stronger. But for democracy to function, both our citizens and leaders need to share a commitment to democratic values. 

Those values are under attack, and we need strong leaders from both parties who will defend them.


We are both members of Mormon Women for Ethical Government, an ideologically diverse group of women that spans the political spectrum. We often disagree about policy, but we share a core commitment to democracy and ethics. Similarly, we admire elected officials who model productive bipartisan dialogue rooted in common values. Those values impel us to ask principled leaders to support two voting rights bills being considered in the Senate: the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act

So far, despite repeated efforts, no Republican senator has collaborated on either bill even though the Voting Rights Advancement Act restores voting protections that enjoyed bipartisan support for decades (including a 98-0 vote in the Senate as recently as 2006). Additionally, the Freedom to Vote Act compromises on some conservative priorities, such as voter ID, as well as feedback from election officials across the nation. And yet, last week not a single Republican even voted to allow debate of the bill.

U.S. Senate Republicans again block debate on voting rights legislation

We, along with a majority of Americans, believe every eligible American has a right to vote in accessible and fair elections, regardless of race, ethnicity, language or ZIP code. We tirelessly advocate for these beliefs and expect our elected officials, regardless of party affiliation, to engage in an honest discussion of voting rights. 

Voter issues in Arizona offer one example of why it’s so important to protect voting rights at the federal level. The Supreme Court’s divided Brnovich v. DNC decision was based on challenges to Arizona voting provisions, including a policy that means a voter’s entire ballot is discarded (including the vote for president) for voting in the wrong precinct. The dissenting justices in the case pointed out that members of Hispanic, Black American and Native American communities were more than twice as likely as whites to have their ballots discarded for out-of-precinct voting in 2016. Our elections are not truly democratic if some Arizonans are more likely than others to have their votes counted.

We believe strongly that each eligible Arizonan must enjoy the freedom to have their vote counted in fair elections. Elected officials should be representative of and accountable to the will of the people. This is not a state’s rights issue: Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1 of the Constitution empowers the government to protect the freedom to vote in federal elections for eligible Americans. 

By establishing nationwide standards for voting access, the Freedom to Vote Act protects all Americans from the possibility of individual state legislatures unjustly limiting who is able to vote within their state, resulting in an overrepresentation of their state’s influence nationally. This would unfairly dilute the voices of citizens in other states. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act also protects the freedom to vote of every American by ensuring that other jurisdictions do not discriminate against voters on the basis of race, color, or language minority status. 

All Arizonans should be able to trust that their votes in federal elections are counted and respected on the national stage as intended. 

Those in Congress have great justification for supporting these bills: Many of the provisions have bipartisan and majority support among the general public (see public polls on automatic voter registrationending partisan gerrymanderinglimiting campaign spendingfederal preclearancevote-by-mailrestoring voting rightsearly voting, voter ID). That’s why we call on Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema to do whatever heavy lifting is necessary to ensure these landmark bills are passed to protect voting rights for all Arizonans. 


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Andrea Messinger Dalton
Andrea Messinger Dalton

Andrea Messinger Dalton has served as Mormon Women for Ethical Government's Arizona Chapter Lead since 2017. Born and raised in Arizona, she studied anthropology, and is an archaeology crew member and mother to two teen daughters. MWEG was founded by faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who felt the call to raise their voices in the cause of ethical government, but is not affiliated with or endorsed by the church.

Laura Clement
Laura Clement

Laura Clement is the Communications Specialist for the Arizona Chapter of Mormon Women for Ethical Government. MWEG was founded by faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who felt the call to raise their voices in the cause of ethical government, but is not affiliated with or endorsed by the church.